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Austin Tolliver

Fallen Angels by Austin Tolliver

April 8 – May 27, 2022

Fallen Angels will be on display at the gallery's SEEN Studios (Studio #21 inside the Chromedge building at 289 W. Walnut Street, Columbus, OH, 43215). Attend an in-person opening reception on Friday, April 8, 6 – 10 p.m. during Franklinton Friday! An artist talk will occur shortly before the opening at 5:30 p.m. Additional viewings are available by appointment.

Artist Statement

Christianity has always been a part of my life through the people around me: My grandpa read the Bible to me, and friends have taken me to church services, events, and Christian camps. I have always wanted to believe the Bible, but I find myself getting frustrated with the ways people can surrender themselves to something without a guarantee of truth. I like to pick everything apart, so I always find myself twisting the meanings and stories of the Bible to my liking.

When I think about angels, I question how anyone came up with the idea of beings flying through the sky - and the first thing that comes to mind is birds. According to the Bible, fallen angels are those who rebelled against God and were cast out of heaven. For me, this would explain why birds are present in everyday life. In my paintings, birds can symbolize multiple things, including humans. These figures are going about their lives and trying to do the best they can while taking on the challenges thrown at them. Fallen Angels in particular explores the experience of heartbreak, and the paintings are intended to take the viewer through the journey of healing from a breakup.

I have struggled with my mental health since my early teenage years. At 15, I helped my ex-girlfriend seek treatment for depression, and then soon discovered I needed treatment myself. At 16, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I began sleeping in class as a result of my depression, and my anxiety caused such severe chest pain that I went to the emergency room. I transitioned to online schooling, thinking that this would help me focus better and wouldn’t risk my health as much. In March of 2020, I moved away from my hometown of Delaware to get a fresh start.

I still live with my symptoms. In order to manage them, I create artwork. When I was a child, my family gave me art supplies to keep me busy, and there are lots of photos of me as young as two years old covered with paint up to my elbows. Later, I also got into drawing, photography, and fashion design. I never thought about my work being shown in a gallery, so I kept my sketchbooks in drawers and hid my paintings behind the curtains in my bedroom. Once I moved to Columbus, I began to take painting more seriously. I used it to express all the feelings I had bottled up over the years. I had no idea there was a great local arts scene until I first showed my paintings at the ROY G BIV Gallery and began making connections from there. The best part about painting is meeting so many great people.This community and the collectors who buy my work provide a level of understanding I’ve always been searching for.

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Austin Tolliver (b. 2002) is a self-taught painter based in Columbus. His artwork focuses on recording the duality of high and low moods, and the techniques he uses in each piece directly correlate with his temperament while painting. In his work, multiple subjects come together like a puzzle in a free-styled composition, with layers of detail and shape creating intersecting symbols. At times bold and aggressive, Tolliver’s paintings are also intriguing and tender, speaking to the artist’s personal pain and healing.

Select Artworks

Please contact Fresh A.I.R. Gallery if interested in purchasing any of the pieces below. Artists receive 100% of the proceeds from sales of their work.

Austin01

Fragile
24 x 30"
Acrylic on canvas
$500

Austin04

Touched
48 x 60"
Acrylic on canvas
$2,000

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Shredded Bouquet
48 x 60"
Acrylic on canvas
$2,000

Austin_02

The Edge of Afterlife
36 x 48"
Acrylic on canvas
$1,200

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Disguise
48 x 60"
Acrylic on canvas
$2,000

IMG_4259

Crucified
24 x 30"
Acrylic on canvas
$500

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Fell for You
48 x 60"
Acrylic on canvas
$2,000

IMG_4285-2

Before the Fall
36 x 48"
Acrylic on canvas
$1,500

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